Toms River Regional Schools sued for child predator ex-teacher

A grown man is suing the Toms River Regional School District, accusing it of failing to protect him and other child victims from a sexual predator who worked as a teacher and coach for several years.

The man, who goes by the name “John Doe”, filed a lawsuit in Essex County Superior Court in early August, Asbury Park Press first reported.

In the suit, he says Shawn C. Lee groomed him and other teenagers when he was in high school in 2005 — before repeatedly sexually assaulting him in a parked car.

Lee was previously discontinued in 2019 for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in a parking lot in 2007, according to Ocean County District Attorney Bradley Billhimer.

That case was pending before a grand jury on Wednesday, according to the prosecutor’s office, and in the meantime, Lee has been released.

Lee was an eighth grade teacher and a wrestling and tennis coach from before 2005 to 2013 in the district.

In the lawsuit, the victim said he attended Toms River High School East from 2005 until he left school in 2007 before graduation.

Meanwhile, Lee groomed him and other boys by isolating them for lunches in his classroom, where they watched ‘gay pornography’ on a TV he took out for sessions, according to the report. complaint.

Over the next few years, Lee’s sexual misconduct escalated, the complaint continued, as Lee performed sexual acts on the boy when he was 15 and 16, in a car parked on the grounds of school and in a car near the boy’s house.

While employed at Toms River, “Lee had a reputation for acting inappropriately around male students,” according to the complaint, which also accuses Lee of sexually abusing “many more young boys.”

Even after the teen left Toms River and moved to Nutley, Lee encountered him and sexually assaulted him in a car at a local park, the lawsuit alleges.

The victim first reported the sexual abuse in 2013 and a criminal investigation was opened, but no charges were brought against Lee.

In 2019, police contacted the victim, asking him to make another statement about Lee, saying police “had been trying to catch him for years.”

The attorney for the Toms River Regional School District told Asbury Park Press he had no comment on the ongoing litigation.

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

In recent years, state lawmakers have risen to the challenge of dealing with accused child predators in the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter checks on New Jersey educational backgrounds related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The following people have been arrested in recent years. Some were found guilty and sentenced to prison, while others accepted plea deals for probation.

Other cases are still ongoing, including some court delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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